Utah mom missing for week; clues are few

Published 3:14 pm Monday, December 14, 2009

Utah police plan a second interview with the husband of a woman who went missing a week ago without taking her purse or cell phone.

Susan Powell, 28, the mother of two young children, was reported missing Dec. 6 from a Salt Lake City suburb in a case that police call suspicious.

They plan to conduct another interview early this week with husband Josh Powell, who previously told police he left his wife and took his boys, ages 2 and 4, on a camping trip around midnight Dec. 6 in subfreezing temperatures. Police said he told them that they slept in a van and returned home Tuesday evening.

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Police said that they haven’t been able to verify the camping trip because snow had covered the site — Simpson Springs on the historic Pony Express Trail in Utah’s west desert.

West Valley City Police Capt. Tom McLachlan says 30 detectives have been working on the case and several of them were on duty Sunday, fielding any tips or leads they can get from the family or friends.

Susan Powell disappeared without taking her purse or cell phone or other items “that you would normally associate with somebody leaving the house,” he said.

Shelby Gifford, a spokeswoman for Powell’s family, told The Associated Press Sunday that there’s an overriding feeling of helplessness.

“It’s really difficult not to have an idea of where she is so that we can even concentrate our search someplace.”

She said that Powell’s children are weathering the ordeal.

“The family is making a huge effort just to insulate them from … the stress and trauma of all of this and they seem to be holding up all right.”

Many of the family members and friends were fasting, praying and resting Sunday, said Damon Talbot, president of the nonprofit Destiny Search Project. Talbot helps maintain a Facebook page for Susan Powell that was created by her best friend, Kiirsi Hellewell in West Valley City. Hellewell had nothing new to report Sunday afternoon.

“It’s still a missing-person case. We don’t have any information or fact to move it from that classification,” McLachlan said. “But it is very suspicious to us, given the circumstances.”


Associated Press writer Sofia Mannos in the Broadcast News Center in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.